Students Recognize Excellence in Teaching with Three Faculty Awards

Atwell, Dodson, and Skrzypacz honored for their commitment to students.

June 19, 2023

| by Margaret Steen
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 Jon Levin stands next to Andrzej Skrzypacz as he holds his MBA Distinguished Teaching Award. Photo by Sher Bhullar

Stanford GSB Dean Jonathan Levin congratulates economics professor Andrzej Skrzypacz on his selection for the MBA Distinguished Teaching Award. | Sher Bhullar

Visionary. Dedicated. Spectacular. Amazing mentor. These are among the words chosen by Stanford GSB students when asked to describe their most effective teachers.

“A hallmark of the GSB experience is working with incredible, dedicated faculty,” said Margaret Coblentz, MS ’23.

Three of those faculty members were honored recently with awards for outstanding teaching.

MBA Distinguished Teaching Award

The MBA Distinguished Teaching Award was presented on May 31 to Andrzej Skrzypacz, the Theodore J. Kreps Professor of Economics and professor of economics (by courtesy) in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Skrzypacz’s research focus is on information economics, market design, and dynamic games. His current research projects include analysis of auctions, timing of market transactions, and dynamic incentives. Skrzypacz is a fellow of the Econometric Society, a co-editor of the American Economic Review, and an associate editor of the Rand Journal of Economics.

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A hallmark of the GSB experience is working with incredible, dedicated faculty.
Attribution
Margaret Coblentz, MSx ’23

Skrzypacz was chosen by a committee of MBA students, who received about 100 nominations for 43 different professors and lecturers. The committee considered teaching excellence, the ability to inspire and motivate students, the willingness to engage in deeper questions, and the long-term impact on students’ lives.

“Ultimately, our decision was made based on this question of impact: how actions taken by professors have stayed with students after a class has ended and finals have been turned in,” said Marianne T. Aguilar, MBA ’24, who led the selection committee.

In their nominations, students lauded Skrzypacz’s ability to put economic concepts into a broader context.

“Andy is a spectacular professor, not only excellent at teaching the concepts of economics but more importantly at putting our class in the context of the world we live in,” wrote one student. “We can see economics at work in the world, and he shows us there is always more to the picture than what the math shows.”

“He combines a great sense of humor, a genuine passion for teaching, and a really deep knowledge of his area,” said another student.

Taking a class from Skrzypacz “transformed my understanding of economics in a way I could not have anticipated, and I can genuinely say that he is one of the top three teachers I’ve had in my life,” said another student.

PhD Faculty Distinguished Service Award

The PhD Student Association awarded the PhD Faculty Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to the intellectual development of the PhD community, to Jon Atwell, assistant professor of organizational behavior, on May 22.

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Jonathan Atwell outdoors, smiling in front of green foliage.

Students chose assistant professor of organizational behavior Jonathan Atwell for the PhD Faculty Distinguished Service Award. Caption | Nancy Rothstein

One student who nominated Atwell cited his commitment to all aspects of students’ GSB experience. “Jon’s passion for research and visionary course development is matched only by his unparalleled commitment to students. He provides individualized mentorship, constructive feedback, and thoughtful answers to student questions. Beyond academics, he fosters a supportive community in the department,” the student said.

Atwell’s research centers on how groups of individuals communicate and consume social information. People who live together in society need to have broadly shared understandings of the world, and Atwell uses simulations, large-group experiments, and natural language processing to study how the information necessary for large groups to create these essential shared understandings is produced, distributed, and aggregated.

A common theme in student nominations of Atwell was his commitment to students. “Jon is a great teacher, a wonderful mentor to many students, and an exceptional human being,” said one student.

Another said: “Jon provides thoughtful feedback on students’ projects and professional development and serves as an amazing mentor in the program.”

MSx Excellence in Teaching Award

The MSx Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to David M. Dodson, lecturer in management, on May 22. The award is given annually to a teacher who spends “time, care, and impact on educating the MSx cohort,” said Margaret Coblentz, a member of the MSx student selection committee.

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David Dodson in a classroom, smiling with his hand on his chest.

Management lecturer David Dodson accepts the MSX Excellence in Teaching Award. | Julia Yu

Dodson, a Stanford graduate with two degrees (BA ’83, MBA ’87), has been active for 30 years in the management and formation of new businesses. He has invested in over 40 companies and has been a director in 21 companies. Dodson’s research focuses on entrepreneurial acquisition, management issues faced by growing enterprises, small and medium-sized acquired companies, and early-stage enterprises.

“In response to our final submission of 400 words, Dave wrote each of us two pages of feedback and notes on our class contributions,” said Coblentz. “He literally broke the WhatsApp chat when people received them.”

Dodson’s remarks at the ceremony offered the graduates wisdom from Winnie the Pooh: “Your life journey will unfold with amazing detours and washed-out bridges, places you never imagined,” Dodson said. “You don’t need to know the route, or even how you’ll get there, but as Pooh instructs us, have a view to what you’re looking for — or I assure you, you won’t get there.”

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